Rules of Thumb

The Best Sealing Solutions for Oil and Gas Applications


With a combination of extreme temperatures, high pressure and heavy exposure to harsh chemicals, rubber elastomers are forced to perform in difficult environments in the oil and gas industry. These applications require durable materials and proper seal design in order to be successful.

The oil and gas industry typically requires rubber o-rings for exploration, extraction, refining and transporting. Here’s a closer look at the best sealing solutions to tackle these applications. 

Choosing the Right Material

Every rubber material has its own unique properties that make it right for specific applications and industries. For oil and gas, sealing solutions must exhibit corrosion resistance, stability under pressure, temperature resistance and chemical stability. 

Some of the best materials for this industry include: 

  • FKM
  • Nitrile (Buna-N)
  • HNBR
  • Silicone/Fluorosilicone
  • AFLAS®

It’s important to understand the capabilities of each material to ensure it’s applied in the best environment. For more information about material selection, visit our Material Selection Guide. 

Use Face Seals for Metal Housing

Gaskets are often used for oil and gas applications to protect the inside contents of metal housing units from contamination. However, face seals are proven to outperform die-cut gaskets in metal housing applications, making them the superior sealing solution. 

The key benefits of face seals include: 

  • Molded precision tolerances
  • Point load contact area
  • Lower compressive force is required
  • Better absorbs variations in surface flatness

To ensure success, every face seal should be designed with the proper gland height to provide the right amount of squeeze for the o-ring cross section. Additionally, there should always be more gland void than seal volume in every seal design. These factors should always be considered when designing a successful face seal for oil and gas applications.

While the oil and gas industry has strict requirements for successful sealing solutions, the right material, seal type  and design qualities will set your application up for success. 


Want to talk more about seals for oil and gas applications?

Tweet us @AppleRubber to continue the conversation.